Whenever I talk to friends who are just learning how to apply make-up, they often tell me that they are mystified by instructions such as “Blend such-and-such a color into your socket line” or “Line both top and bottom waterlines.” I don’t blame them. It took me quite awhile before I could understand such instructions myself, so I understand how newbies would have a bit of difficulty in deciphering directions of this sort.
In this post, I’m going to walk you through the different parts of the eye (in terms of make-up application, that is). I’ve also included some pictures with the areas being described marked out.
The lid. When applying eyeshadow, the lid is where the base color usually goes. A base color is either the same color as your skin (and in applying it you’re just evening out your eye area color) OR the medium/middle shade in a three- or four-shade eyeshadow palette. The lid area starts at the upper lashline all the way up to the crease or socket line. Where’s the crease, you say? Read on…
The crease or socket line. Gently pat your eyelids with a finger, and feel for the area where the eyeball ends and your eye area recedes or seems to go deeper. That area is your crease or socket line. In most make-up looks, the crease is where the darker colors are placed. The idea is to recess this area even further, to make the eye look more deep-set. However, if you’re like most Asians, you’ll probably find that you have monolids, i.e. you don’t have a defined crease. No worries! There are a host of other ways by which you can define your peepers; I’ll talk about this in a future post.
The outer corner. This refers to the corner of your eye farthest from your nose. Apply darker colors here and blend softly inwards, going in about one-third the length of your eye (the color here should blend with any color you applied in the crease, if applicable). Darkening this area also helps to define the eyes and make them look deep-set. For people with monolids, applying dark colors here and blending inwards works to give the illusion of deeper-set eyes (better than trying to create the illusion of a crease where there is none).
The inner corner. The reverse of the outer corner, this refers to the corner of your aye nearest to your nose. Unless you have really large eyes, you usually cannot afford to apply dark colors in this area; doing so makes your eyes look smaller. Instead, highlight this area with light/shimmery shades to give you a wide-awake/refreshed look. Any color applied here should be blended softly outwards (i.e. away from the nose), going about one-third the length of your eye.
The browbone. This is the area right below the brow. It’s hard to miss this: there is literally a bone in this area. Light shades are applied here to highlight the area. Shimmer works, but don’t overdo it; you want to be very subtle in emphasizing this area.
The upper lashline. The area where your top eyelashes are, this is where you apply eyeliner and/or false eyelashes. Lining the eyes, when done the right way, makes the eyes pop and can either emphasize or subtly change their shape (depending on the effect that you want to achieve).
The lower lashline. This is where your bottom lashes are. Eyeliner is also applied in this area. You can also add false eyelashes, but they’re a bit trickier to attach here.
The bottom waterline. This is the area that’s practically inside your eyes already, requiring you to go in further than your lower lashline. Applying eyeliner here takes a bit of getting used to. A dark eyeliner applied here works for smoky, sultry looks. A light eyeliner–white, or pale yellow–makes the eyes look bigger and brightens them as well.
The top waterline. Like the bottom waterline, but on top (i.e. underneath your top lashes). “What?! You want me to apply my eyeliner there? What if I poke my eye?” Well, this isn’t for everyone. Even I have yet to master applying my eyeliner here without being reduced to tears. But applying eyeliner here (usually pencil, or cake eyeliner with a wet brush) makes your lashes look fuller without mascara, so I think this is a trick worth learning.
(Note to self: If you want to apply eyeliner here, do it BEFORE applying mascara. I once tried doing it after mascara, and it hurt like anything )
There are so many ways to apply eye make-up that what I’ve just said will not apply to all types of looks. But these guidelines are generally applicable, and they are definitely useful to a beginner.
Remember that blending is key; there should be no visible demarcation lines between one color and the next, or from one area of the eye to another. Hope this helps!